These days, it feels like well-designed home exteriors are just as important as beautifully decorated interiors. It makes sense, then, that as summer approaches, our feeds are full of some serious outdoor eye candy. Most notably, I've spotted an insta-rise of fully stocked and extremely stunning outdoor kitchens. I’ve compiled a few of our favorite feeds below, complete with inspiration to up your BBQ game to a whole new level.
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Isabelle Dahlin of @isabelledahlindesign has a rustic outdoor kitchen in Ojai, Calif., that’s fit for a chef... mainly because her husband Brandon Boudet is, in fact, a chef! “The bar is built over the propane tank that was a huge eyesore when I designed the outdoor bar/kitchen eating area," explained Isabelle. While their space also features a Portuguese beehive stove and a custom Santa Maria grill, Brandon has an outdoor cooking hack to share. “The ultimate must-have is a couple of portable camp stoves, which can be purchased for around $20," he said. "I use them all the time if I don’t feel like lighting the grill or oven, or I need some more cooking space.”
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Stockholm-based Hanna Sanglar's stunning outdoor kitchen is perfect for idyllic Swedish summers. “We absolutely love the rustic feeling and how we’ve created different lounge areas for our big family to enjoy,” she said. “The one thing I wouldn’t trade for anything is our Big Green Egg where we can grill, roast, smoke, and bake the most delicious food ever. Summers here are the best!”
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The majority of Hayley Southwood’s English outdoor kitchen is an impressive example of upcycling. “We have always loved being outside and hosting for our friends and family,” said Hayley. “My husband created this space during the first lockdown using mostly recycled materials—old scaffold boards and used pallets we had knocking around. We had no idea it would turn out this well.” Her practical must-haves for an outdoor kitchen include a charcoal barbecue and festoon lights. “They make every outdoor space look great!”
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While Australia is technically inching into their winter, Cairns-based designer Lisa Olfen is lucky to live where it’s outdoor dining season all year long. “As we live in the tropics, I use this kitchen every day. We wanted something that was a bit rustic [to fit] in with our outdoor entertaining area and pool. A lot of our inspiration comes from Bali.” Along with a large custom dining table, Lisa also says they depend on their BBQ, full gas oven and cooktop, sink, air-fryer, and Thermomix. “We also have a large fridge for all the alcohol when friends and family pop over!”Continue to 5 of 13 below.
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UK-based Claire Wainwright turned an unused part of her garden into an Italian-inspired oasis. “This part of the garden was tucked away and not used at all. We had the idea of building in a brick, woodfired pizza oven and it has turned this little courtyard into one of our favorite spots. We love visiting Italy and this part of the garden transports us there - the smell of fresh herbs, baking pizza, and the soft glow from the festoon lights is so atmospheric. It is a great space to entertain friends and family. Everyone loves creating their own favorite pizza topping and watching it cook in minutes outside.”
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Kari Brooner, owner of KMB Design Studio, designs outdoor kitchens that complement her clients’ homes in a timeless, blended way. “I always want projects to look like they were all built at once. Blending the new and the old is important, and the best way to do that is to focus on the details of the site.” From a practical standpoint, she suggests low-maintenance countertops that can withstand UV and high heat and high-grade stainless appliances. “I [also] love to position the counter to maximize views of the yard and create a place to gather, socialize and also double as a counter to lay out food and drinks.”
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Tony Young’s Cubic Outdoor Kitchens feed is fairly new, but their feed is a minimalist’s dream. “The kitchen range is completely bespoke, allowing homeowners and specifiers to tailor their kitchen solutions to their needs.” Additional details you never knew you needed include watertight drawer storage, integrated dishwashers, and an outdoor pantry system that Tony and the team say is an absolute must. “The key benefit to an outdoor pantry is the functionality—completely eliminating the need for constant travel between indoor and outdoor kitchens.”
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Nichola Willcox found her inspiration on vacation. “After holidaying in a Greek villa with an outdoor kitchen a few years ago, we knew this is something we wanted to recreate in our garden,” she said. “We also wanted to keep it low maintenance so have used a composite cladding (normally used to clad buildings) for the kitchen units. We also have stainless steel worktops and marble tiles for splashback areas. The pizza oven is going down a storm with the family and is turning into our Friday night treat!”Continue to 9 of 13 below.
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Talbot Cooley created an outdoor living space that is truly an extension of this home. “We always consider how the client will use the space and how they will entertain,” explained Tablot. “We want to make sure that there is plenty of seating and serving areas. When picking the finishes, make sure you pick durable materials that will withstand your climate. We love neutral tones outdoors with pops of color — as seen in this beautiful outdoor veranda!”
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As a heat, scratch, and stain-resistant quartz surface, Caesarstone’s entire feed is an outdoor kitchen lover’s dream. With styles to suit a whole range of tastes and aesthetics, they offer the inspo you need to create the framework for the perfect outdoor dining space. Jonathan Stanley, Caesarstone’s VP of Marketing for the UK & EMEA, told us, “One essential [for an outdoor kitchen] is a living pantry, complete with fresh herbs to add to your favorite dishes. Good storage is key, too.”
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As “specialists in contemporary outdoor entertaining spaces,” Sherwood Outdoor Kitchens is an obvious addition to the list. While they tailor all of their designs to their client’s needs, their ultimate goal is to maximize functionality. One way to do this, they said, is to “create multiple work zones for drinks alongside both hot and cold prep areas that naturally flow between each, but allow enough space to function when used separately.” This focus on flow creates a resort-like vibe that can work for year-round enjoyment.
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Emma Jamieson of @lovinglinden had the weather in mind when she designed her outdoor kitchen. “When I planned the space, I wanted it to be flexible in terms of whether we could eat, lounge, and cook undercover. The fireplace was high on my wish list because we cannot depend on the weather here in the UK! With the warmer weather, we’ve moved our dining table undercover to give shade from the sun. I tried to include lots of elements that we’d use inside the house so it’s become like an extra room. Lights, fire, candles, cozy seating, storage.”Continue to 13 of 13 below.
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London-based company Nomad Developments prioritized outdoor kitchens during the design phase, and Managing Director Jack Simpson fell in love with the project so much that he moved his family into one of their homes. "We loved designing the outdoor kitchens,” he said. The key is choosing the right materials. They opted for polished concrete, which is “super weather-resistant, easy to clean, and, in our opinion, looks incredible, especially contrasted against the brickwork on the boundary walls. My personal favorite feature on the kitchens is the Big Green Egg!”
While I'd never be able to pick a favorite from the list, I do love noticing a few trends. Consider twinkly lights, a pizza oven, and plenty of counter space all in the must-have column for my future outdoor kitchen.